Bishop Isaac Idahosa is the president and founder of Illumination Assembly (God First Ministries). He has been in the ministry for over 30 years winning souls for Christ. He talks about his plans to establish a school called Illumi City; his singing acts, state of the nation and other issues in his interview with EMMANUEL CLEMENT. Excerpts:
What is happening with Illumination Assembly?
We have gone far and have been able to do few things that affected the widows. When Bishop Idahosa Foundation was established in February this year, we were able to give a whole lot out. May 1, 2016 was a Jamboree of love, our arms were open wide to the abandoned, the rejected and the homeless, co-opting them and showing them the love of Christ. We are also staging a conference where the entire world will come here. It is going to be a kind of global world feast and it will be at Illumi City. Illumi Foundation will be laid because where we are now is absolutely too small, we are looking at raising a mega huge Cathedral that will take a million people, with schools, hospitals etc. That is our vision. W are here to make changes. We are not the light of the church; we are the light of the world. We are not the salt of the church; we are salt of the earth. So, we should go in to sweeten and preserve the system. Things are very awkward out there. So, there should be solace, love, peace and light in the house of God. So, we are stretching our hands transporting light and transforming lives, not just the preaching of the word of God but living the life of Christ here on earth.
Why do you come up with a school and what is going to distinguish it from other mission schools in Nigeria?
I am not among the multitude. The Bible says we should not follow the multitude. I have my own good intention for bringing up a school-to help the less privileged who cannot afford to pay for expensive school. It will not be that high. The method and ways to which some schools are being operated have left much to be desired. Some schools do not have enough facilities that are conducive to learning. Mine is going to be of good standard and affordable for common man. The difference is that the masses will have access to it; we will ensure that the common man have a space for quality education for his children. It is called Illumi City which includes primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
How do you intend to fund the school?
God is the only Source of Resources. When you lose your Source, you will lose your Resources .I only put my trust in Him who had called me. I believe it is God’s will to open a school; so it is God’s bill, He knows how to fund it. The finances we need are almost in place, we will kick off soonest.
Where will it be located?
We are looking at between Ajah and Epe in Lagos State, Nigeria.
How would you describe President Muhammadu Buhari’s performance so far?
He that must build a tower must first of all sit down and count the cost. Your structure is determined by the foundation you have laid. This past year, if you want to physically say, literally, there is nothing to hold like some Nigerians will say. But it is not how far, but how well. Trying to tidy up for a glorious journey needs a lot of patience. I believe strongly that the rest phase, we will begin to see the manifestation with speed. I know some Nigerians will say they are “disappointed, things have changed: what kind of charge is this?” Isn’t hasten climbers have sudden falls. They should give him a benefit of doubt. Once we are able to deal with the issue of competition, we will ensure that the rule of law is observed to the letter. He is not a President to the North; he is the President to the entire nation, Nigeria. God has not promised us save journey but He promises us safe arrival. You might have some turbulence in the air, but Nigeria is at the edge of rising up again. That is what I solicit for and that is what we stand in the gap for. We are coming out of it bigger, better and stronger.
What’s your reaction on the state of the nation?
We must read the manifesto of All Progressives Congress, APC, and ask frankly questions and talk to ourselves and say this change was experienced change. This is in the sense that we must change our character to exercising faith in the system for the change is working for our good. But then, for things to evolve, we must be able to understand that time is of great essence. The leadership should be able to sit down very closely and have a kind of an indoor meeting to find out where we were, we are and where we are going to. Communication must always be in place to avoid abnormality among the leadership and the subjects.
Right now, there are a lot of power tussles. We are talking about now but the politicians are looking at 2019. Jesus said give us our daily bread and not future bread. So, if the power tussle is based on who will be who in 2019, then today will be defeated. Many will have to lose their lives, their chances and their visions because of power tussle. We must sheathe our swords and differences and allow the President to do the right thing. He has good intentions but there are clogs on the wheel of Mr President that make people misunderstand every step he takes in the right direction.
The change is not just by saying change, if you don’t change, you’ll be changed. We must have the spirit of change in place, that I know doesn’t actually mean one knows. So, they must communicate the spirit of change among us so that when people are suffering or enduring as is today, they will know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Can you talk about the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the fight against corruption in the country?
The fight against corruption is highly welcomed; even God hates corruption. God hates anyone that would want to extort from the nation or the country. We must team up together no matter the religion you belong to. People want to make sure his tenure has problem in this wonderfully beloved nation in the name of Buhari. God put him there for such a time like this and God wants him to know that He is still with him in all that he requires and wisdom to fight what God hates. It’s just a while Nigeria economy will boom again and bounce back among the common wealth of the nations. God is involved in this country, the devil can only revolve around Nigeria, but it cannot dissolve the prophetic plans of God for this nation.
People have been saying the President means well by touring different countries of the world. How have these trips affected this change?
It is not the day you sleep with your wife that she’ll deliver; it takes process. You were not born an adult and you passed through some processes to be where you are as a journalist. Normally good things come with time. The problem we have is that we want a magician in President Muhammadu Buhari and a magician cannot rule Nigeria. We want somebody who deals with fact and with truthfulness of heart and purpose. All we need to do as a people is to be good followers. Notwithstanding, I support giving checks here and there so that they can be on their toes. Of course, it is one year now that APC has been in leadership, I just want where they will stop apportioning blames and face the realities on ground and give us that evidence and dividends of change they once preached.
You said Nigeria should exercise patience and support the APC government. Are you saying they should continue to exercise patience?
Change that is not giving a chance will turn to a chain; it will chain people rather than changing them. Buhari travels here and there. You see, people don’t see good in leadership until they are involved in leadership. You can talk about who is good or bad player outside the field of play. Once you enter into the field of play, you’ll not know what to do. You can’t take this away from the reign of Goodluck Jonathan. He set a procedure and that’s what we call true leadership, which is setting a standard that even if you are not going to benefit from it, your children unborn may benefit. It is just about building up on that which he has already set as a foundation in the electoral process. You can see transparency in one who conceded defeat; it’s the greatest hit you’ll ever receive. No wonder, all the awards and accolades round the world today, his children will live to feed on that in generation to come.
But when we struggle to have power then we should also struggle to keep power, when we struggle to have a position we should struggle to keep it. Now, APC is there no two words about that, they have three more years to be there. I will encourage us to support the dream of APC as it relates to change, accepting change as it were. For them, change should begin with them because if you have not change you cannot deliver change, you can’t give what you don’t have. The budget we are still having trouble with stories of this is omitted and this is not omitted and the average man is suffering. The manifesto must be looked into properly and then adhered to.
Like I always say, one of the fastest ways of solving the problems of this nation is to embrace the Confab report, the last conference held where notable Nigerians were represented. If the recommendations of the confab is put in place the problems of this country is half solved. But where we have ethnicity, bigotry, religion among others in place you can’t have the right political will to enforce what is right even when you know what is right. That’s where you find this one is trying to feed at this, like I watched in the news the Lagos/Calabar rail project removed from the project. That is gruesome if that was done because one man’s offense should not relate to the punishment of everybody and hence bringing us backward.
I’m a prophet that sees good thing, even if there are bad thing in view we should be able to pray averting them and asking God to give our leaders the spirit of excellence, of oneness, harmony and unity that will bring us from our diversities and making us one. Once that happens, Nigeria as a whole will be focussed.
I just learnt that Angola has overtaken us in oil production; they now produce more oil than we do. It is a setback but then who knows, like the Bible will say that the Jews turned their back against God so that the gentiles can be engrafted. Had the oil not gone the way it is today, it’s possible we would not have resorted to diversifying into agriculture, other mineral resources and other source of revenue generation as we are doing today.
Any comment on other national issues?
Even God said let us reason together. When you don’t give ear to what others are saying, you might fall prey of what other leaders fell into. Once the subject begins to have difficulties to belief or lose hope in leadership, fellowship becomes difficult. The rise and fall of anything is tied to leadership. We must believe in the common course that Nigeria is a nation that will not break, we must love our nation but contributing to his growth, by representing it, we must be true patriot, we must show patriotism in our little ways, we must imbibe moral standards, how to behave, how to love our neighbour as ourself, how to put God first and make God our priority. And to the leadership, they must be truthful to the citizen and the citizen must trust the leadership that is able to produce what is entails in their manifesto.We must be able to allow the rule of law prevail not to select part of law that must work for a particular people and not going to work for a particular people.
We are passing through a process. We must not allow what we are passing through stop us from the original dream of Nigeria. Nigeria is a prophetic nation and time is coming and no sooner that now when things begin to look up that it will be the pride and envy of the Global world. We must love our country all the supp6ort and by not just thinking of what to get from the government but by contributing our quota for the betterment of this country.
You are known to be a minister of the gospel;, a teacher of the word and you also sing. Which would you prefer, a singer or a pastor?
I am a pastor, called by God and as a pastor, I operate in the five-fold ministry which is pastor, teacher, evangelist, prophet and Apostle. I have used this calling of God upon my life to impact lives positively, built and trained many pastors. That is why our mandate in my own ministry is to raise the people of ICE. I stands for Integrity; C stand for character, while E stands for Excellence. Singing is just part of me, I have been singing all my life, and I can not do without singing. Anywhere I am, I sing, before I preach, I worship God. Where there is Praise, there is always Grace to run the Race. Pastor is calling while singing is a gift from God. I would not say I prefer one to the other. They are both for ministration, I preach well when I sing. I have about three albums already making waves across the nation. I am also an author of books. Five of my books were launched on my birthdayin February this year.
Wwhat is the essence of worship in the body of Christ?
As mighty as God is, there is one thing he cannot do, God cannot worship himself. We are subject of worship created to worship God. The bible says in the book of Revelation 4:11, that God created all things for his pleasure. Worship is not just singing but conduct. Obedience to the word of God is worship and Sacrifice. When God told Abraham to take Isaac to mount Moriah to sacrifice him, at a point Isaac asked: “Where are we going? And Abraham replied, we are going to yonder to worship. Going extra mile is worship. Living a life pleasant to God is worship. Lifting up holy hands and the essence of worship is to bring glory to God.
Why do you think some gospel artistes leave their churches to write worldly lyrics?
One of the reasons is in the quest for fame and money. They tend to think that when they step out of the church, they will make money faster. I would advise strongly that the church should embrace their own and create a platform to help them become what they want to become right in the church, else, they can be enticed to join the world system.
You are known at organizing programmes and inviting some top gospel artistes, which is your best programme among its kind?
Every programmes I rolled out to do come out the best, if I do another programme tomorrow, it will be better than today because in my ministry, we believe ‘Everyday is a Plus’. One of our major programmes for the year was held on 1st April this year, it was titled “Night of a Thousand Times More”. We had some top artistes like Sammie Ekposo, Akpororo, Praise Machine, among others. The reason for this programme is to pray for unity among Nigerians, asking God for restoration a thousand times more. Another programme was in May 1st this year. We have the likes of Eben, Emeka Smith, Praise Machine, Temi Thompson, Monkas etc. Another bigger one is coming up in July 1st which coincides with my wife’s birthday. We are having the likes of Steve Crown with his popular song “You are Great”. Eben and other top gospel artistes and ministers of God will grace the occsion.